An embryo is a person and has the right to live? Discuss

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“An embryo is a person and has the right to life”

A Roman Catholic would agree with this statement. Firstly, they are followers of Natural law and divine command ethics. As such, they relate to the teachings in the bible that relate to the sanctity of life, and therefore they believe an embryo is a person from the moment of conception. Roman Catholic law teaches that a foetus is a human being. Secondly, Natural law is based upon God’s purpose for his creation, and Natural Law places the protection of life and species above all others. Finally, they believe that life is holy and belongs to God, and thus only god can take it away, and life and personhood begins at conception.  All persons have a natural right to life, and the mother and foetus have equal rights.  "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." Also, the 6th commandment states that “thou shalt not commit murder” and as the foetus is a person and has the right to life, killing it would be murder. However, there is one exception, which is called the law of double effect. This rule states that if lifesaving treatment is given to a pregnant woman, (e.g. when conception happens in the fallopian tube instead of womb) and this results in the unintentional and unavoidable loss of a foetus, then in this case it is allowed.

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Someone who follows Preference Utilitarianism (Peter Singer) would disagree with this statement. Firstly, he would argue that abortion is permissible at any stage of the pregnancy, because unborn children lack the characteristics needed for personhood. He would argue that, as we have these, and we have preferences, we have a right to kill embryos as they don’t. He would argue that the sufficient condition for personhood is the ability to have and make preference, and anyone that can, including animals- should have rights. Secondly, he would argue that even some newborns do not have rights, and therefore they don’t have ...

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